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Challenges of B2B User Experience Design


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Slides from talk by Rob Gillham, Principal Consultant at Foolproof at UX Brighton monthly meeting on 13th March 2012.

(Apologies - there ARE some versioning issues, as I was talking using a slightly older set of slides than shown here, I hope this doesn't get too confusing or spoil anyone's appreciation of the points being made!)

The theme was lessons learnt from working in b2b environments, and how to avoid some common pitfalls which UX people from the B2C space often fall foul of!

Published in: Technology, Design
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Challenges of B2B User Experience Design

  1. 1. The Challenges of B2B User Experience DesignWhat makes it different to B2C, and why?13th March 2012Robert Gillham – Principal Consultant
  2. 2. Part One: What Defines Good?
  3. 3. Part One: What Defines Good? “We have now harvested most of the low-hanging fruit from the truly horrible websites that dominated the lost decade of Web usability” Jakob Nielsen January 2008
  4. 4. What Defines Good? EcosystemsB2C context Pension Scheme Pension plan Member online tool
  5. 5. What Defines Good? Ecosystems Institutional Consultant InvestorB2Bcontext Pensions Manager Client Pension plan online tool Company Member Trustee
  6. 6. Six lessons for UX work in B2B environments1. Learn to ‘spot’ a B2B system2. Innovate in small spaces3. Identify the boss4. Managers are not users5. The myth of ‘compulsion’6. Risk of ‘going native’
  7. 7. Learn to spot a B2B system1. There are multiple users in the system, with complementary roles2. The main user of the system is probably not the named main account holder3. The use of the system ties in with other processes to meet organisational goals and are domain-specific4. The user does not pay for a purchase with their own money, but maybe from a budget.
  8. 8. Learn to innovate in small spaces• Big companies aren’t all Apple or Amazon!• They tend to be conservative users of IT• Computer and systems are replaced at a slower rate than consumers replace their own technology• Smart phones, tablets etc might be unused, or even forbidden in the workplace• Your usual array of solutions and suggestions might not work in this context Sometimes you will have to be content with the smallest amount you can do that will have the greatest impact! File:Earls_Court_Police_Box.jpg
  9. 9. Identify the boss• Sometimes the marketing department may have hired you• But you are working on the IT manager’s budget!• Understand IT teams are subject to all the constraints and pressures we just spoke about• This means you will find yourself under: • Pressure to compromise • Pressure to deliver early • Pressure to say the UX solution is what IT were going to do anyway!
  10. 10. Managers are not users• All managers fondly imagine that they can describe user behaviour accurately• They can’t!• Even if they used to do this job themselves• Senior people who say they are still users usually aren’t• Look for proxies
  11. 11. The Myth of Compulsion• IT and business stakeholders often labour under the impression that they can enforce process compliance through interface design• It is your job to disabuse them• People tend to do the things they want to do – even at work
  12. 12. Don’t go native!If you hang about the business long enough youwill learn to: • Understand a complex domain • Know the users • Design effective solutionsBut you will also learn to: • Compromise • Make excuses for technology • Realise when something is a lot of hard workIn fact you will be useless as an objective UX viewpoint!Look for opportunities to vary your work mix, rotate on and off projects to avoidburn out
  13. 13. ContactRobert Foolproof Harella House 90-98 Goswell Road London EC1V 7DF +44 (0)20 733 6700